Posted by: viewfromtheriva | March 19, 2019

Discovering a working 1,700 year-old Roman drain inside a Diocletian’s Palace restaurant


The Romans never did things half way, even their street drains were designed artistically

Dioklecijanova street, the main north/south street inside Diocletian’s Palace, runs from the Golden or North Gate to where it meets Kresimirova street in the heart of the Palace, its glorious, open “courtyard” Peristil.

The Augubio palace, just a few doors up from the corner of this junction, is one of a number of 14-17thC edifices within the Roman walls built by the rich and famous to signify their elite status.

Many are still in wonderful condition, others are waiting to be restored.  The Augubio is mostly restored, with a courtyard and its own well (a real sign of status, having your own source of water!).  Several years back the ground floor was restored and the original Roman stone street and handsome brick arches and other details from later epochs were uncovered as part of a restaurant project with the same name.

As the restaurant scene here has exploded, a lot of places have changed hands as well as menus. Last week, I had a chance to meet one of the new owners (from Croatia, the other is from California).  While we were sitting talking about their fabulous new menu, I noticed what looked like a Roman drain–like the one inside the bank at the corner and another inside the Croata store on the opposite corner–that one, restored and under glass for all to enjoy).

Those drains run west to east…but the Augubio drain is on the north/south axis and the only one I have seen that not only is visible, but is actually working.  “We wash these stone floors regularly,” my host said, “and the water runs right into the drain perfectly”

What a wonderful discovery!

Next time I come, I can’t wait to surprise the maitre d, “hi, can I have a table next to the drain please?”

Even close up, the drain is just plain gorgeous

 

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